Arusha, October 25, 2011 (FH) -The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will deliver its judgment in the case of former Rwandan mayor, Gregoire Ndahimana, on November 17, 2011, according to a scheduling order issued by the Tribunal.

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Ndahimana, who was Mayor of Kivumu commune in Kibuye prefecture, Western Rwanda, is charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, as alternative count and extermination, as a crime against humanity. He allegedly planned with others massacres of Tutsis at Nyange Church in his commune between April 14 and 16, 1994.

Other authorities linked with the massacres at the church where more than 2000 Tutsi refugees were killed include genocide-convict, Father Athanase Seromba, currently serving life imprisonment, businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga, who was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment in the first instance and Fulgence Kayishema, ex-Judicial Police Inspector of the commune, still at large.

During closing arguments on September 21, 2011, the prosecution requested a Trial Chamber presided by Judge Florence Rita Arrey to hand down life imprisonment sentence to the defendant because of acts he performed in his capacity as mayor of the commune and for betraying the trust of his people.

It alleged further that prosecution witnesses sufficiently proved beyond reasonable doubt that Ndahimana was the principal participant in the destruction of the church; he led the attackers by examples; gave them means and facilitated every move. However, the defence sought for acquittal, claiming that the accused bore no criminal responsibilities and that prosecution witnesses who testified to support the claims were not credible, following discrepancies of their testimony and previous statements they made regarding the killings.   

According to the defence, Ndahimana was not present at the massacre site at the time the offences were committed and defence witnesses produced undisputed evidence of alibi to support such position.   

Ndahimana's trial took off September 6, 2010 and 15 witnesses testified for prosecution before concluding its case on November 19, 2010. Ndahimana opened his defence on January 17, 2011 and winded up May 13, 2011 after presenting 30 witnesses.   

He was arrested in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on August 10, 2009 and transferred to United Nations Detention Facility in Arusha on August 21, the same year.   


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